Bert L. Rice, a former county councilman who spoke with McMillan at the council meeting, said the alderman has legitimate concerns about the lack of communication between the city and county. He said Owens should apologize to McMillan and meet with him to address his concerns.
"I think it's rude and inappropriate that an elected official receives a letter from another elected official and doesn't respond," said Rice, a Republican who served on the council from 1994 to 1998.
Johnson said that although some may be concerned about Owens' delayed response, the city and county enjoy a co- operative relationship. He said a recent agreement on a shared wastewater treatment plan is evidence of this cordiality.
But, Johnson said, he would have responded to another elected official's concerns within one week.
"The quickest way sometimes is to pick up the phone," Johnson said.
Moyer, who was elected to the council in 1961 and was elected to the first of two terms as mayor four years later, said Johnson must realize the county executive has more responsibilities than the mayor and that it is important to maintain a good relationship with the county.
Tensions between Snowden and McMillan are long-standing. Snowden, a Democrat, was the Ward 5 alderman for 12 years before making an unsuccessful bid for mayor in 1997. McMillan, a political newcomer, won Snowden's seat.
A few weeks before the election, Snowden criticized the Republican Party for not finding a black candidate to run for the seat, which represents a predominantly African-American ward. McMillan countered that the criticism was race-baiting.
In June, McMillan linked Snowden to an effort have him ousted from the council, after the alderman introduced an anti-loitering bill in an effort to curb drug activity in troubled neighborhoods.
McMillan sent a fund-raising letter to 1,100 Republicans, pinning the recall election effort on "partisan extremists led by Carl Snowden." McMillan said last week he would respond to Owens' letter when he returned from vacation this weekend. He said he was pleased that Owens responded to his letter, but pointed out that she did not answer his question about Snowden's role at the rally and housing commissioners' meeting.
"Basically, she uses this letter to provide a smoke screen for her lack of response," McMillan said.
Sun staff writer Scott Calvert contributed to this article.